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[SEAOC] Re: Seismic Design versus Wind Design in Wood

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What follows is an expression of opinion elicited from recent listings
indicating some displeasure with  wind design speeds and exposures.  Please
feel free to ignore if this is not of interest to you.

I think that it may be beneficial for engineers to maintain an objective
viewpoint towards seismic and wind design requirements for wood frame
construction.  Using seismic design forces as a judgemental yardstick as to
whether the wind criteria is "reasonable" or "overly conservative" would not
appear to be justified from an understanding of how these forces are
generated.  One should also bear in mind that the 50-year recurrence interval
wind forces are not reduced, unlike the 475-year recurrence interval seismic
design forces, and so they reflect vastly different performance objectives.

Taking a broader(i.e., for this discussion including more than just
California) perspective of the experience of wood frame construction in
natural disasters, hurricane and high winds have caused more frequent,
 widespread and greater catastrophic damage than earthquakes.  Proper seismic
design does not assure an adequate wind design.

A viewpoint from a structural engineer practicing in a state with 80 mph
basic windspeed and typically exposures C and D(hardly any B), and seismic
zones 1 through 4.

Gary Chock, S.E.
Member, SEAOH  and SEAONC